In part 1 of this article, I said: “Such portal areas explain why some areas seem to be hotbeds of paranormal activity but they do not really help us look at random high strangeness happening in random areas . . . ” In this section of the piece, I will present a theory that I think helps to explain some of the strangeness going on in seemingly random spots across the globe.
First a bit of history. Many historians of the esoteric trace the modern occult revival back to the French occultist known by his nom de plume, Eliphas Levi, and his publication of Dogme et Ritual de la Haute Magie in 1855. This work was a spark that re-ignited interest in the much maligned magic of the Middle Ages and set the stage for such important groups as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the latter part of the 19th century. Since that time, and especially since the end of World War II, the repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1736 in Great Britain and the subsequent foundation of Wicca in the 1950’s, there has been a steady increase of occult knowledge being made available to the public.
Beginning with books and spreading onto the Internet once the worldwide web became easily available, information on magical practices has never been more freely available and, while a lot of the material out there is sheer unadulterated crap, authors from all areas of the magical continuum have produced and continue to produce quality work which can have a real effect in people’s lives if they are willing to put in the time and practice for their esoteric studies.
In addition, good teachers are now making lessons available online for those who want more guidance but who can not attend in person. For example, Jason Miller, the author of several interesting books (including the highly recommended Protection and Reversal Magic), offers a full year magical training program that he calls Strategic Sorcery. In those lessons, a would be magic user can learn all the skills necessary to really effect change in their lives and go on to study other magical arts from a strong knowledge base. Mr. Miller’s work is but one of many quality magical training programs available online for a fairly modest price.
The down side to this plethora of information is that the occult is not longer so occult. The “hidden knowledge” of the past has become the subject of everything from books to podcasts and has given rise to a whole generation of “dabblers”. In the past, if you wanted to learn magic, you had to find someone or some order that was willing to teach you and you had to commit to learning to do things their way, even if you found that the practice did not exactly suit you. Nowadays, anyone with a modicum of talent and a book can perform spells and rituals that may and often do have a definite effect.
Now, if you happen to be of a magical bent, you are probably thinking that there is no way most of these wannabe spell slingers are doing anything more than mental masturbation and, for the most part, I would agree with you EXCEPT that there are recorded instances of stone skeptics pulling out a grimoire, setting up a ritual as if it were real and doing an invocation with shockingly real results. I recall reading, for example, the story of a group of scholars who nearly burned up the room they were in when the fireplace flared during a “mock” ritual invoking Mars. One or more people in that group had some native talent and, combined with the ancient energy channel they were working with, the magic worked.
So, we have a perfect storm – one part freely available magical lore (some of it from quite old sources), one part people who may be emotional about a subject and willing to use magic to remedy it and one part natural talent. Shake, stir and wave a wand and you have a circumstance that could open a portal quite easily but only for a limited period of time.
Here is an example. Let’s say that John is having girl trouble. He has been in several relationships but they just never seem to work out the way he would like and he is getting sick of the dating game. John happens to be one of those folks who enjoys browsing the New Age/Occult section of his local bookstore (or Amazon, for that matter) and he happens to spy a book on improving your love life with magic. He buys the book and discovers a number of spells and rituals for attracting the perfect mate but is particularly taken by one ritual, derived from an ancient grimoire, that conjures a spirit to go out and seek the perfect mate and bring him or her into your presence.
John gets excited. The ritual calls for robes and candles and sigils and all sorts of really cool magical stuff. John gets into this, he spends days thinking about it, works to prepare the proper color robe and coverings for an altar, goes out and buys candles of the appropriate color along with some nifty holders and even digs up some incense in the specified scent to make this as perfect as he can. John spends time actually memorizing the ritual so that he does not have to have the book open to distract him.
John decides that he will do the ritual outdoors since his pesky roommate has a bad habit of bursting in at the wrong moment and always complains about the scent of incense. On the correct day (according to his manual), John goes out into the night at the proper hour and does this ritual exactly as he has memorized. He is “stoked”, he really gets into the ritual and discovers that he actually feels something as he prepares the space, does the opening etc. His voice rings out like a bell as he calls the spirit he is looking for and a cool answering breeze tells him that the spirit is present. He makes an offering to the spirit as per the ritual and makes his request, detailing what he is looking for in a perfect mate. He gives the spirit license to depart and do his bidding, closes the ritual and goes home content in the knowledge that the love of his life will soon appear.
Only that is not the end of the story. John is new to all this stuff and very excited by his success in getting this spirit to appear. Also, this magic stuff is hard work and he is more tired by the end than he thought he would be. He fudges the ending of the ritual, forgetting some of it and going home to his warm bed. The ritual actually took place near one of those old Indian mounds. Viola, that night, someone in the area reports seeing a – fill in the strange entity of your choice – . John managed to open the door but he failed to close it properly and something besides his love spirit came though.
Now, take this scenario, multiply it by the thousands of people who have access to this type of information and you have a whole new source of high strangeness. Spirits of varying sorts, able to manifest to varying degrees, able to come through until the energy that holds the portal open degrades to the point where it closes. I do not just blame novices either. There are many reasons why magic might go a little awry and leave a portal open for a time. Something as innocuous as someone coming home before a practitioner is done with a rite could knock things askew. My point is that, with the plethora of magical practitioners of all sorts out there, the opportunities for these temporary portals increases exponentially and thus so do the opportunities for people to witness all manner of weirdness coming through from the Otherworld.